A love remembered.

When Dirty Dancing first came out, I was in sixth grade. I went to a small elementary school and there were only eight girls in the class and we were pretty tight-knit, having gone through school together since kindergarten. In sixth grade, we were very into gossiping about boys, having sleepovers, and talking about very girly things. Things like hot new romances, like Dirty Dancing.

I know. The dirrrrrty in Dirty Dancing is not really appropriate for eleven-year-old girls. Maybe that’s why my mom was so mean as to forbid me from watching it. Every single other girl in my class was allowed to watch it when it went to video. When my friend Denise’s mom (who was more conservative than my mom, but a close friend) let her watch it, my mom finally relented. I remember my mom watching the movie with me and standing in front of the screen, blocking my view during the love scenes (but strangely, not the abortion scene, although I had no idea what was going on in that storyline; I had no idea what that operation was for, only that it was shady). I howled at my mom, yelling at her for keeping the good parts from me, arguing that I was mature enough to see whatever the heck she was keeping from me.

Secretly, I was still thrilled. It was a grown-up movie that had reached the status of forbidden-fruit. Now I could be in the know and laugh and giggle and gossip with my girlfriends. I was the very last girl to see it and when I ran into school that Monday morning and told them my mom let me watch Dirty Dancing, they squealed with me and rehashed the movie for the thousandth time. So sweet was the feeling of inclusion.

When I heard about the passing of Patrick Swayze, my cousin (who is practically my sister) sent me a chat message, responding to the message I had posted in my chat status. She said she remembered secretly watching the movie at our house when we were little, fast-forwarding through the scenes that her mom wouldn’t have approved of. Johnny and the rest of the Dirty Dancing crew featured in the introduction of tweendom and teenagery for her and me and for so many girls. Patrick Swayze always held a special place in our hearts for that. When he uttered those magical lines, “Nobody puts Baby in a corner,” he was speaking about us. We were finally here, we were girls-almost-women and no one could hold us back and tell us we couldn’t watch Johnny and Baby dirty dance. We were going to find a way to watch the movie anyways; we were going to (slowly, so slowly) turn into young women. For ladies in my generation, I think Patrick Swayze always had and always will embody that moment. I loved him for it.

For more stories of love and inspiration, visit Chookooloonks, where Love Thursday began.

Tags: , , , ,

6 Responses to “A love remembered.”

  1. Kathy Says:

    Well said. I think you wrote what so many are thinking.

  2. Se'Lah Says:

    I am so sad that he passed.

  3. agent torklepants Says:

    im very close to crying reading this. which seems weird but its patrick swayze and he and his dance moves are such a big part of my childhood. if i can find the short story i wrote about dirty dancing a couple of years ago im going to send it to you.

    also that show that mom likes “dancing with the stars” is doing a tribute to him on their season premiere.

  4. Kath Says:

    This is a lovely tribute. Margie and I love that movie.

  5. Gayle Says:

    He really was a part of all our lives. I am sad for his family. Beautifully written, Katie.

  6. Amelia Says:

    I was silently stopped in my tracks when I heard the news- not surprised- but felt the loss of an amazing man, an amazing fighter- my heart aches for his wife- I love the way they loved one another.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: